3D CAD Jobs

There is little doubt that SolidWorks is the most popular mid-range MCAD system. Some point to job listings to show how much a MCAD system is in demand and hence is being used. Others think that job listings is not the right way to go about figuring out popularity.

Yesterday a SolidWorks reseller sent me the following email:

Attached is a table I compiled yesterday of job postings in the USA that include the following keywords:

  • SolidWorks
  • Catia
  • Autodesk Inventor
  • Pro/Engineer or Pro/E (Creo only came up with 69 hits)
  • Unigraphics or NX
  • Solid Edge

I used www.indeed.com to perform my searches. Indeed.com compiles job postings from numerous sources, and seems to give the highest number of total results. I did not filter the job postings for only a single specific CAD product keyword. If multiple CAD products were referenced, they were included in each respective products results. I’ve also color coded the cells based on the relative number of jobs per state, by product. Green is good, red is bad! The purpose of this exercise was to see which states in the US were posting the highest number of openings, and to compare the results of the primary 3D MCAD applications used.

You can download the PDF attachment from here.

What I found most interesting was the comparison between SolidWorks and CATIA. Going by this job listing logic, it looks like SolidWorks has beaten the crap out of CATIA in the US. In fact, in this comparison CATIA came in third after Pro/ENGINEER. In spite of what people say about Pro/ENGINEER, at least in this comparison it looks pretty healthy to me. NX is half as healthy as SolidWorks. Inventor looks a bit sick and Solid Edge appears to be in coma. 😉

What do you think? Are job listings the right way to figure out popularity. If not, then what is?

  • It does not specify if jobs posting are related to cad-operator searching for a job or to company searching for a cad operators. May be that SWX and Catia are being dropped out of market so a lot of cad-users that are skilled on these systems has been fired? 🙂

    BTW, it seems to me a little bit suspect, even more becaues it arrives from a SWX reseller, and I think the email is dated 1st of April, isnt’it?

  • It does not specify if jobs posting are related to cad-operator searching for a job or to company searching for a cad operators. May be that SWX and Catia are being dropped out of market so a lot of cad-users that are skilled on these systems has been fired? 🙂

    BTW, it seems to me a little bit suspect, even more becaues it arrives from a SWX reseller, and I think the email is dated 1st of April, isnt’it?

  • StillSnowOutside

    why would anyone think that this information is a suprise? in the USA of course solidworks jobs are the most plentiful. This does not directly prove that solidworks is the “best” CAD system, but it is very widely used.

    What do you mean “…in spite of what people say about Pro/Engineer”….what DO people say about Pro/E?

    • People tend to dismiss Pro/E as an outdated MCAD system, difficult to use and being phased out. CAD vendors claims that most of their seat converts come from Pro/E. If this job listing logic is anything to go by, I’d say Pro/E is still being used a lot. They are greatly entrenched.

      • aldean

        “People tend to dismiss Pro/E as an outdated MCAD system, difficult to use and being phased out.”

        When you say people, who do you mean? Vendors? Funny, we source most of our major user profiles based on the work of the company or the project, rather than the CAD system. What crops up most in the bleeding edge design work? Pro/E & Alias or Rhino..

        • PTC itself believes that Pro/ENGINEER is difficult to use. Hence the new Creo. Its architecture is most definitely outdated. I can say that because I can see what the architecture looks like from the API.

          • aldean

            Difficult to use or not, there’s one hell of a lot of people creating kick ass products with it. That, my friend, is going to take a lot for people to shift away from..

          • aldean

            Difficult to use or not, there’s one hell of a lot of people creating kick ass products with it. That, my friend, is going to take a lot for people to shift away from..

          • Like I said in my earlier comment, they are greatly entrenched.

  • Look Beyond the Surface

    If you search various different spellings or acronyms for the competing products you find more listings…..ProE for instance can be Pro/E or ProEngineer or Pro-E. UG-NX can be Unigraphics or NX6 or NX 7, etc. Unfortunately, you need to combine all of the search terms to get a cumulative result. Another thing to take into account are the jobs that specify more than one software package. Sometimes employers will list software to merely find applicants will skill that can transfer over to whatever they are using.

  • Look Beyond the Surface

    I looked at some of the CREO positions and found that XEROX has a color copier with that name and some positions referenced that instead of a PTC product.

  • If we play the whole gimmick of numbers…

    Base on those jobs statistics Dassault have 50% of the market. That is the general marketing message the reseller try to pass..aka SW..Dassault

    Their marketing service is good at building marketing foot print.

    From my own perspective, SW marketing should not look at the AEC market, they probably should start their own communication company to offer marketing services, no doubt they are among the leaders for marketing a products…. but their business is 3D CAD.

    I also wonder why he send you those data…

    Your are base in India? right… OK you sold worldwide but what impact would have 9138/7565 – 16 703 users in US on your business… compare to the 1.2 billion of your neighbors or 1.2 Chinese who develop their market at 10% per year?……..

    OK now i take a 720 deg. turn, with a shortcut in a dark area…. but everything is connect somehow…

    This bring by the side why SW may want in the future to have the Dassault kernel, each time you open SW about box you will see Siemens. And for a company who base their presence/pupolarity by the marketing foot print, this is a needle they would like to remove at all cost… Same as what Autodesk did for their kernel under the excuse they technologically need control of the kernel development. However i think they are still using Siemens Dcube +…

    About the popularity, we are not in the Art&Entertainment business, where you need a blockbuster for this week show, or your 15 minutes glory ( unless you decide to host your own web TV show), pass a certain level this should not be relevant…

    This is more relevant for me..

    Part of the Siemens mission

    “……What We Do – Our Mission

    Siemens PLM Software’s driving mission is to work collaboratively with companies to deliver open solutions that help them turn more ideas into successful products…..”

    Almost forget the Job advertise subject 🙂

    If I were a Solid Edge/NX reseller here the mail i would send you….

    Did you know that Siemens PLM Software manages or creates more than 40 percent of the world’s 3D data?

    Siemens PLM Software’s Parasolid® software accounts for 25 percent of all 3D product data.

    60 percent of Siemens PLM Software’s installed seats manage multi-CAD data, meaning that Siemens PLM Software manages more of its competitors’ data than its own.

    From, article on Graphic speak..

    “Siemens PLM made it clear years ago that “open” is their mantra, and with more than 5 million seats of Teamcenter out there, it seems to be working”

    Imagine what we can do for your CAE/CAD/CAM/FEA business with hundred of thousand seats installation base near by your location.

    So if you are looking at someone to fill job position, you should ask someone who is familiar with Simens PLM software. Their is a good chance that you will find experts for the job. »

  • I sell mainly to North America and Europe. Problem is my 1 billion neighbors and the Chinese use my software but don’t buy it. 😉

    • JohnSmith

      It’s revealing, isn’t it.

  • Dave Ault

    I would add to Solid’s comments with a few thoughts to. Statements from Resellers are pretty much sure to be biased. These numbers such as they are are a static reflection of one point in time. If the amount of disgust SW users I know have for SW and DSS is being honestly portrayed the numbers are going to shift in a big way soon. It’s a shame there are no ways I know of to find accurate numbers on trends to see how things are moving and not just how they were at one time.

    I had to laugh at your software users that don’t buy comment. I was thinking of ZW3D and how it was just a matter of time for a Chinese company to suffer from piracy and I hope they really like it .

    • Sure, these numbers are biased. A Solid Edge reseller would probably come up with a better looking table. I’m just laying this out there and wondering if job listings is a good way to determine the popularity of a CAD system, that’s all.

  • John

    The numbers are what they are. Go to http://www.indeed.com and do the searches for yourself.

    No marketing blather, just employers or recruiters looking for people with specific skills.

  • Maxicad
  • Deelip, you would be wise not to compare Inventor at all in this list. I can honestly say that in my findings talking with companies that use Inventor and post job openings, over half of them will put AutoCAD in the requirements for the job and not Inventor. This is due to a couple reasons,

    1. The HR department knows they have been using AutoCAD and missed the boat on the software naming.

    2. Inventor is seen to be so easily used that they say users of AutoCAD can pick it up at their company

    3. It is easier to find talent that knows AutoCAD and train them on Inventor.

    4. There is still a larger majority of 2D going on rather than 3D at the company due in no small fact to amount of legacy data in use.

    Granted some of these reasons could also mean that another 3D cad product is in house, but the majority of the time it is Inventor.

    This has long been a SolidWorks reseller plow to skew numbers in their favor since they do not have a competing legacy 2D data system to cause on of the above rationals.

    Whenever I talk to students I tell them to apply to all AutoCAD jobs. More often than not they become Inventor users when hired.

    • And I guess the fact that Autodesk’s branding of Inventor as AutoCAD Inventor is not helping either, right? http://www.deelip.com/?p=1920

      • John

        I’d forgotten about the “rebranding”.

        I went back and re-calculated my results using “AutoCAD Inventor” (without quotes) as the key word to search for.

        Changing the product name from Autodesk Inventor to AutoCAD Inventor increased the number of jobs from 591 to 859.

        Autodesk marketing magic at its finest!

  • John

    Try the following search on http://www.indeed.com

    Autocad 3D -civil -survey -architect

    It currently lists 1,899 jobs. Better than Inventor, but not overly impressive given the legacy installed base.

    Also, are you saying that if you know AutoCAD then you know how to use Inventor? If so, then couldn’t you say the same for SolidWorks?

  • John

    On www. indeed.com, if you narrow the search criteria a bit more using the following:

    AutoCAD 3d -civil -survey -architect -architectural – electrical -drafter

    It drops the results down to 599 jobs.

  • MramseyISU

    I did some similar research for myself when in college and found similar results. This was around 2004 or 2005 and in the US SolidWorks was definatly the most popular CAD system being looked for in searches from Monster and Career builder. Say what you want about it coming from a reseller but do the search for yourself and I doubt you’ll have very different results purely based on job openings.

  • No, what I am saying is companies look for AutoCAD users as a hot job posting and then train them on the Inventor they have.

    But yes, the same could be said for SolidWorks as well, but I have not found the latter to be the norm in my travels over the US.

  • chad

    The numbers speak the truth. Why are so many people persistent in trying to manipulate the facts?

    • The amount of offerings alone do not make a CAD software popular. It can also mean that companies cannot find users of a software even though they were sold it. 🙂

      In the end there are too many factors (a lot not even listed here) that contribute to software popularity and usage. In the end, Job Postings are not the end all solution to determining usage or adoption.

      There are three kinds of lies. Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics – Mark Twain.

      • chad

        I disagree, Job Postings are a clear indication of usage and adoption. I don’t see how this can possibly be viewed any other way. I suppose someone could hire someone to stare at a monitor and pay them money to do nothing?

        • William

          Look at his Twitter… he’s a self-proclaimed Inventor user so obviously he has some pride in his software and will not give any ground. I work for a SolidWorks VAR, I see our sales numbers every week, and let me assure you that the converts between the two packages are only moving one way.

          • And you don’t think I see the same movement toward Inventor William? Come on man. You also know very well different areas of the country also have different qualities of VARs and therefore also see different shifts in momentum based on the strength of the sales teams in those areas. Your proclamation of working for a Solidworks VAR does not help your credibility either.

        • There is nothing clear about job postings except companies want users with 3D CAD experience. If you want hard evidence you need to interview each company. There is a fair amount of deception companies do use to get applicants.

          This example happens in specific corner of my state where there is a larger amount of schools that teach SW instead of Inventor. Companies in this area who DO use Inventor and are quite happy with it have posted in their ads…SolidWorks or other 3D CAD equivalent because they know these users can work Inventor just fine but know they will search on SW because of their niche area in the state and knowing what the school has on their computers.

          I would whole heartily agree Autodesk dropped the 3D ball in the Manufacturing sector for Education because they gave away software to the students and not the schools. The opposite of the SW where they give the schools software for free and make the students pay for it. That has since been rectified but no matter, the perception for hiring 3D CAD students right out of college the previous paragraph is a pretty common happenstance for companies searching for talent. Ponder this though…when SW announced their 1 millionth seat, over 60% of those were Educational seats no one paid for or paid very little for and not commercial seats in practical use.

          I have seen this job search paradigm reflected in the Pro/E world as well since there are very few schools left that teach Pro/E in the states. And as such as a Professional Services Consultant and an Educator I always tell job seekers to apply to not only AutoCAD listed positions or ones that claim SolidWorks or 3D CAD equivalent.

  • John

    “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”

    Mark Twain

  • Eric

    Interesting discussion. Is there no credible source for the market share for CAD software?

    • John


      Unfortunately the answer is no.

      The only 3D MCAD vendors that publish their quarterly and annual seat counts are SolidWorks and Dassault.

    • aldean

      when people subscribe to DEVELOP3D, they list their primary and secondary design tools and are pretty straight about it. 3 years in, we have a very clear idea of who’s using what, where and for what purpose.. don’t believe the numbers.

      • John


        Just as I don’t think a survey of Rolling Stone magazine readers would yield a reliable list of musical tastes, a survey of DEVELOP3D subscribers could also produce skewed results.

        I feel that job postings are the most unbiased source available. Not saying I’m right, I just don’t have access to other sources of data.

  • Eric

    Interesting discussion. Is there no credible source for the market share for CAD software?

  • Hua-Wang

    Those statistics make complete sense to me.

  • Mark Russell

    Solidworks is the worst CAD system because it is full of bugs. Solidworks only survives on the marketing gimmicks promoted just like this one.